We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Greece in May without hotel reservations?

Berkeley, California
7 posts
Save Topic
Greece in May without hotel reservations?

Hi all,

I should be there (first time) mid-May for a few weeks with my wife on our honeymoon. I'm hoping to spend some time on the mainland and then upwards of a week on one or more islands.... Santorini likely for at least some of that week.

Feeling overwhelmed with so many options on things to do and always up more for a sense of adventure rather than a prescribed, heavily rigid plan, would we be ok to very lightly plan our trip and do things a bit on the fly?

Other than say booking a hotel (likely in Athens) for the first few nights in advance, so we can get a car, get there and settle, would we be ok to let all plans fall into place from there?

South Pole
Destination Expert
for Lesbos, Zagorohoria
Level Contributor
14,926 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Greece in May without hotel reservations?

We usually travel to Greece in May & often have no rooms booked - not even first night on some trips! Never failed to get a bed & if you have a car it does make it easier to drive on a little if the first place you try does not suit. Depends on how fussy you are - if you are happy with a basic clean room & not bothered about frills then its easy peasy on the mainland. If you have a generous amount of travelling time then certainly I would opt for the flexibility travelling on the wing can give you. Although we often find we discover a wonderful place where we intend to stay one night & end up still there several days later. Good idea to book for Athens of course - you don't want to be walking the streets with your bags searching for a hotel that you like./can afford!

Berkeley, California
7 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Greece in May without hotel reservations?

Great! Invaluable information and what I was hoping for. I really loathe being forced into a rigid schedule while on a vacation! What if you want to stay at a place for an extra day? Or even a week? I think keeping flexibility (when/where possible) is key to a relaxed vacation.

So great, unless I hear otherwise, I'll relax on trying to come up with the perfect concrete schedule for our honeymoon knowing just roughly where we want to go, what islands and plan a general route that makes sense. Otherwise, we'll be free-floating in Greece!

Newmarket, United...
Destination Expert
for Antiparos
Level Contributor
7,779 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Greece in May without hotel reservations?

I agree with tsipouro. Mid-May is just the beginning of the season, and hotels on the islands are well below high season capacity. On most islands, when a ferry arrives at port there are many owners of small hotels waiting with rooms to rent. Make sure you know where the hotel is located before agreeing to stay. You will be given a free ride to the room, and still have the option to refuse if you don't like what you see. IMO that's a much better way to travel than paying in advance for a room you've never seen.

Berkeley, California
7 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Greece in May without hotel reservations?

Thanks all, I will likely just book perhaps the first hotel in Athens and just take it from there!

Washingon DC area
Level Contributor
1,852 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Greece in May without hotel reservations?

If your flight gets in early enough, consider starting your trip in the islands and finishing in Athens and the mainland. And if you have an idea of which hotels you'd like to stay in, you could pick up a Greek cell phone at the airport, and call ahead to make reservations as you go along.

Berkeley, California
7 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Greece in May without hotel reservations?

zakrosian, what would the advantage be to start off on an island? i had otherwise thought better to save the relaxing best for last at the beaches on the islands.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Skopelos
Level Contributor
37,502 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Greece in May without hotel reservations?

Hey and welcome Doug V:-) I agree with Zakrosian.. although it's a personal call for sure.. your travel style rules:-) FWIW, you guys will be coming a long way if starting off in CA.. chances are you're looking at a good 24 hour min in transit.. considering the time-zone changes, lag, etc., hitting a major metropolis like Athens off the start may not be the way to go?! Again, it's all up to you and how you travel;-)

Just some food for thought.. but if you decide to catch a quick puddle jumper flight to Santorini upon arrival at Athens airport from the long haul(s).. flight takes barely 40 min.. you'd be off to a great start de-lagging and getting your land legs back on a magnificent isle.. perfect place to get into zone.. as opposed to trekking the Akropolis and being immersed into a vibrant City which you may not be ready to truly appreciate?;-) Saving Athens as a finale works great for lots of folks coming the long haul.. you'll be ready at the end to take in and enjoy this magnificent City.. without dealing with jelly legs and buzz head;-) Those would be well dealt with looking out over the caldera from your balcony/terrace in Santorini with a glass of wine.. or 2;-)

You can book yourselves via www.aegeanair.com/ out of Athens to Santorini.. and would plan on finding a place on the isle for at least the first 2 nights.. and go from there! May is a fabulous time.. and agree you won't have any problems finding/extending stays on the isles! Would also consider.. regardless of itinerary chosen, to book a place at least for your final night in Athens prior to the trans flight home.. just to be on the safe side;-) Congrats.. and Happy Honeymoon Planning;-) Always EnJOY!

Washingon DC area
Level Contributor
1,852 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Greece in May without hotel reservations?

In addition to Litsa's points, you can never know what's going to happen when you're island hopping and trying to get back to Athens. It doesn't happen often, but a ferry you're planning to take back to Athens might not be sailing - too windy, strike, equipment breakdown. Last month, I'd planned on a Saturday ferry from Chios to Samos. When I showed up for it, I learned that there was a problem, and would not be able to leave the island until Tuesday.

Berkeley, California
7 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Greece in May without hotel reservations?

@Litsa, Without really intending to do so, I've pretty well ended up doing exactly what you suggest! I think this will pan out well. We're landing Athens around 10pm, then heading to the closest cheapest hotel to spend the night and return (somewhat) fresh in the am the following day to take our quick flight to Santorini. We'll arrive in time for lunch, and can check into our amazing hotel after to start our honeymoon in style at a very nice place.

From then on, there isn't much pre-planned, but I think having our start booked and planned like this will be a good start. Then we can relax and go to less expensive places and take it day by day there.

Anyway, I was re-reading advice from the forum and noticed I'm taking your exact advice!

Edited: 13 January 2014, 05:01
New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Skopelos
Level Contributor
37,502 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Greece in May without hotel reservations?

Sounds like a plan Doug V:-) Let us know how it goes.. Keep us posted.. keep enjoyin'!